Sunday, October 12, 2008
New York Parks
One of the things I love most about living in New York City is the parks. I grew up in a very rural part of the United States where trees and grass and wildlife are a regular part of life. Every morning I would wake up to hear birds chirping outside my window. Now I am jolted awake by car horns and sirens. I miss the nature that I grew up with when I'm in the city but I have to admit that I took it for granted. It wasn't until I moved to Manhattan that I realized what a wonderful thing nature could be. I think the reason for that lies in the difference in the way parks are treated here from the ones at home. In Nebraska, everyone has a backyard. Even the apartment complexes have huge central courtyards. We have the room for that. My own family has 8 acres of grass and trees behind our house, without mentioning the large pasture and pond where we keep our small herd of cattle. So in Nebraska, there's no reason to go to the park. Why go spend time on community grass when you can walk out your back door? But here in New York, those parks are our backyards. We share our backyards with the entire community. And for that reason there's a feeling that I get in New York City Parks that I've never felt anywhere else. A feeling of commonality among people who may have nothing else in common. We come to Washington Square Park, Tomkins Square Park, Central Park, Riverside Park and all of the others for all sorts of different reasons. It could be to bring kids to the playground, or to meet up with a friend or two, to eat lunch, to take the dog for a walk, or to just enjoy the fresh air. But we all come to the park because we want to get a bit of nature: smell the grass, sit in the shade, whatever it is. And thats why I love New York Parks.